Burnaby South MP and federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is lobbying the federal government for more money to fund transit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier in the week, TransLink detailed the dire financial situation due to drops in revenue as people stay home.
New Westminster MP Peter Julian discussed a joint letter signed by Singh in a Facebook post.
“I have written a joint letter with Jagmeet Singh, Don Davies & Jenny Kwan urging the federal government to immediately inject an emergency funding to sustain this important public transit system so that TransLink can continue to provide daily service to over 75,000 essential workers who rely on the transit systems to get to work,” wrote Julian on Facebook.
Metro Vancouver commuters will see unprecedented cuts to transit services unless the transportation authority gets emergency funding to offset losses incurred for providing essential transit services during the pandemic, said a TransLink press release.
“TransLink’s revenue is down $70 million a month or $2.5 million a day,” said Mayor Jonathan Cote, chair of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation. “Our transit agency relies heavily on being funded by transit fares and the gas tax. With transit ridership down 80% and driving down 60%, the revenue sources have completely evaporated almost overnight. That has put TransLink in a bit of a crisis when it comes to their financial sustainability.”
Cote said TransLink has been engaged in talks with the federal and provincial governments for the last two weeks and has made them aware of the financial stress the public transit agency is under.
“So far, we haven’t been able to be prioritized by those governments,” he said. “We fully recognize the federal and provincial governments are under a tremendous amount of stress and recognize there are many demands being placed on them. Although we do understand that, we do feel the need to highlight the challenges our transit agency is facing because without support from those levels of government there is going to have to be dramatic changes done to our transit system. This isn’t only going to impact our transit system during the health crisis, but it will also impact the transit system as we move into the recovery phase.”